Thursday, October 13, 2016
Johnny Carson, the longtime king of late night, had an incredibly popular character Carnac the Magnificent. Carnac would put an envelope to his head and put out the answer. Ed McMahon would then repeat the answer as Carson would then open the envelope and read the clue. Mostly the audience would groan and McMahon would chortle. It was a fun way to take pot shots at pop culture. Talking heads on cable television, columnists and even traditional journalists have taken the predictive focus on the events of the day. No longer is the “who, what, where, when & why” covered in stories. Instead it’s What will happen next? What needs to happen? What does he/she need to do to …? 100 days out from the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, I have some predictions of my one.
Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the next President of the United States. This isn’t necessarily my personal choice, but all of the statistics, polls, hyperbole and indicators point towards a comfortable electoral college victory. The popular vote will be too close for comfort for many of her supporters. Despite this like Messrs. Obama, Bush (43) and even husband Bill before her the victory will be misread as a landslide. Congress will remain woefully and painfully divided – a much truer reflection of the country. The HRC administration will come out of the gate overreaching.
Before she takes the oath of office, though, there’s the lame duck session. Terrified by the prospect of a more liberal President and wanting to assert its influence into the future – the last weeks of the Congressional session will be remarkably productive. Mr. Trump’s loss will be attributed to the uniqueness of his brand and approach and not to anything deeper in the GOP conscience.
Merrick Garland will be confirmed by the Senate and become a Supreme Court justice. The Republicans will prefer to go with a known moderate than an unknown liberal the Mrs. Clinton would nominate. It will also be a deft political move to strain relations between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Clinton who will want to have the nomination pulled…essentially reinforcing the GOP mantra all along that the nomination was dependent on who won the election. If the nomination is pulled it’ll be a huge GOP victory.
Congress will immediately begin investigating Mrs. Clinton. Her tendency towards secrecy and a lack of transparency will only cause trouble. There may not be any smoking guns or anything substantive, but the investigations will serve as the poke and reminder of her principal weakness. She will become the second Clinton to be impeached as President of the United States though like Bill before her, the Senate won’t remove her from office.
Donald Trump will not go quietly into that good night. He will employ an army of attorneys and attempt to litigate the election for months and perhaps years after the fact. Media outlets will be sued for libel. He’ll even threaten to go after the RNC for not supporting him enough. Anybody and everybody will be to blame. The financial damage to the Trump brand will be sought as compensation in the suits.
The man himself will attempt to become Al Gore redoux. The former Vice President became a principal in a media company (Current) as a vehicle for his views. It went down in flames costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump TV will garner a HUUUUUUGE amount of coverage and then ultimately settle in for Glen Beck TV levels of viewership.
Viable alternatives like the Libertarians will grow their electoral base. There are 154 elected officials today, 600 are running for elective office. Most of their voices will be muffled in the greater political discourse.
The American people will continue to be frustrated and indeed angry. The 2020 election will be underway within months into 2017. Why can’t anybody get along and get anything done? Partisans will become more resolute and we’ll continue to yell at one another or, more likely, just ignore those thoughts, beliefs and ideas that are not immediately comfortable. In short, I predict MOTS – more of the same. And that stinks.